Watch Out for Purple Tuesday

Purple Tuesday is a national campaign set by wearepurple.org.uk to encourage accessible shopping for people with disabilities.  It has been established “to

  • recognise the importance and needs of disabled consumers
  • raise awareness of the Purple Pound
  • promote inclusive shopping”

It is being supported by the Uk’s big brands including Argos, Asda, Marks and Spencers, Sainsbury’s.One of the main ideas behind PURPLE TUESDAY is that businesses are missing out on a lot of business if they don’t adapt their business to maximise its disabled-friendliness! This brings the idea of the “purple pound” – it is estimated that in the uk this aspect of business is worth £250 billion per year! With 20% of the population with some form of disability, this amount of business can enhance any company. If these figures are applied to Eastbourne, with our 20,000 population with a disability, it means that £76million is the potential spend. Purple found that 75% of disabled people in the UK have left a store because they found the staff unhelpful, or they did not feel very welcome. These figures don’t include our 5million tourists every year!It is known that lack of welcome is usually caused by uncertainly about how to meet someone’s needs, and fear of not acting appropriately rather than any form of prejudice or poor attitude of staff. Shops can be supported by resources such as accessibility audits, downloads about communication aspects of meeting customers’ needs, and disability-focused customer service training for staff.

An interesting aspect of the idea of Purple Tuesday is that its aims directly match those of Inclusive Eastbourne, which has been campaigning for improved shopping experiences for all people with different needs since 2010. We have carried out secret shopper’s surveys and developed a guide to improving accessibility. Now we can join in with the national mission that is Purple, to disseminate our experience more widely, and to use Purple’s newly available resources that are available to all. One important aspect of accessible shopping that Purple do not emphasise as much as Inclusive Eastbourne has been doing, is the availability of suitable customer toilets. We found evidence in our surveys that one of the most important aspects affecting disabled people’s shopping experience is whether the toilets are accessible and well kept. Businesses may not be fully aware that the way in which a business cares for their customer toilets reflects the ethos of the company more than just about any other feature! This is of course especially so in coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. Another issue is that we need MORE toilets available in the town, so that people need not worry that they might not find a suitable toilet when they need one, and therefore decide to stay home after all. We thus invite businesses to join our Inclusive Toilet Scheme:Inclusive Eastbourne’s COMMUNITY TOILET SCHEME invites businesses to join our group of businesses and other venues that allow people to use their customer toilets even if they are not a customer at that time. Indeed if people use such a toilet it brings more foot-fall into the shop and this may lead to future business from that person. We have small badges that can be placed strategically to show that the premise’s toilets are available to the public. Such businesses also feature in Eastbourne’s public toilet map. See further information about this scheme within this website here.   

  • Write to us on our contact page and join the campaign to maximise inclusive shopping experiences for all people in Eastbourne.
  • All shops in Eastbourne are invited to express their interest in the idea of PURPLE TUESDAY, and to register possible interest and for support, by registering with purple here   https://purpletuesday.org.uk
  • With Eastbourne Access Group, we will be at Arndale on Tuesday 13th for PURPLE TUESDAY where we will invite shoppers to give feedback about their local shopping experiences.

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